Favorite Books

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Mattceinicram
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Favorite Books

Postby Mattceinicram » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:01 pm

We have music discussions here, and we have movie discussions. Anybody want to discuss books?

For me my top 5 favorite right now would be

1. Great Expectations
2. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest
3. Grapes of Wrath
4. Animal Farm
5. Lord of the Flies
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Gillingham » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:48 pm

Always willing to discuss books. A top five for me too then:

1. Cormac McCarthy - The Road
2. William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
3. J.M. Coetzee - Disgrace
4. Mark Twain - Adventures of Hucklebery Finn
5. Stanislaw Lem - Fiasko
Last edited by Gillingham on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Mattceinicram » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:45 pm

I've been wanting to read As I Lay Dying. I'm currently in the middle of 1984
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Jirin » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:32 am

Philip Roth - American Pastoral
Don Delillo - Underground
Roberto Bolano - 2666
George Orwell - Animal Farm
Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby DaveC » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:36 am

1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Chronicle of a Death Foretold
2. Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go
3. Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment
4. Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
5. Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

Also have As I Lay Dying on my wishlist.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Nick » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:51 pm

Here's something of an unordered list of my favorite books. Infinite Jest is my number 1 choice though.

Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace
Catch-22- Joseph Heller
Underworld- Don DeLillo
2666- Roberto Bolano
The Pale King- David Foster Wallace
Gravity's Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon
Kafka On the Shore- Haruki Murakami
1984- George Orwell
Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut
White Noise- Don DeLillo
The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
Ulysses- James Joyce
American Psycho- Bret Easton Ellis
The Savage Detectives- Roberto Bolano
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Listyguy » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:00 am

Mattceinicram wrote:I'm currently in the middle of 1984

I love that book! Without a doubt my favorite novel of all time. If I were to make a rough top 5, here's what it would look like:
1- 1984
2- Catcher in the Rye
3- To Kill a Mockingbird
4- Animal Farm
5- The Great Gatsby

I actually just finished Gatsby last week. I've been (attempting) reading East of Eden for about two and a half months and am currently on page 18. So I'll have that finished by 2060 at this rate. :whistle:

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby salamipizza » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:30 pm

Mattceinicram wrote:We have music discussions here, and we have movie discussions. Anybody want to discuss books?

For me my top 5 favorite right now would be

1. Great Expectations
2. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest
3. Grapes of Wrath
4. Animal Farm
5. Lord of the Flies



Your list is identical to mine save replacing number two with Les Miserables, and Grapes of Wrath would be number one :whistle:
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Poliuks » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:13 pm

My interest in literature lasts far longer than in music, but I feel my knowledge of books is even more fragmentary. Nevertheless, this is my top 5:
1. In Search of Lost Time - Proust
2. Lord Jim - Conrad
3. The Gulag Archipelago - Sołżenicyn
4. The Doll - Prus
5. Foucalt's Pendulum - Eco
Number one is far ahead and the next three are pretty strong, but than things stop being obvious. Some of the later would be: The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyewsky), Hopscotch (Cortazar), Dead Souls (Gogol), Gargantua and Pantagruel (Rabelais), The Misanthrope, Tartuffe (Moliere - propably my second favourite writer of all time, just afrer Proust, and certainly the funniest - I can't help giggling literally every time I read Tartuffe, and I have read it so many times already).

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Chambord » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:15 pm

My relationship with literature is also longer that the one with music (and film). That's because Literature was studied ever-since primary school (which can't be said about the other 2). However, I discovered it as an art form and fell in love with it only after I finished school. Until then, I read because I had to and what I had to, after that I read because I wanted to and only when/what I wanted. The same development happened to my film/music culture. Up until finishing highschool I watched movies / listened to music just for fun. And then, at one point, as part of growing up I began to gradually realize that there is more to discover in these fields than the mere "fun". That brought me to the classics and the new jewels that could quench my thirst for beauty and give me food for thought ... and the need for axiology and hierarchy ... and to AMF / TSPDT / etc ...

Bloody stop it Chambord !

Here's my AT Top 20
Chronological order
One per writer

Don Quixote 1605 Miguel De Cervantes
The Sorrows Of Young Werther 1774 Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Pride And Prejudice 1813 Jane Austen
Jane Eyre 1847 Charlotte Bronte
Great Expectations 1861 Charles Dickens
Les Miserables 1862 Victor Hugo
Fathers And Sons 1862 Ivan Turgheniev
Crime And Punishment 1866 Feodor Dostoievski
Anna Karenina 1877 Lev Tolstoi
Hunger 1890 Knut Hamsun
Quo Vadis 1895 Henryk Sienkiewicz
Un Uomo Finito 1913 Giovanni Papini
The Age Of Innocence 1920 Edith Wharton
The Sun Also Rises 1926 Ernest Hemingway
Steppenwolf 1927 Hermann Hesse
The Sound And The Fury 1929 William Faulkner
The Love of the Last Tycoon 1941 F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nineteen Eighty-Four 1949 George Orwell
The Catcher In The Rye 1951 J.D. Salinger
The Bell Jar 1963 Sylvia Plath

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby John » Sun May 19, 2013 12:03 am

I'm a slow reader... I need to read every word, I just can't skim a book like most people. I wish I could because I love the medium more than watching a movie or a show. It just takes weeks for me to finish a book if I read 30 minutes or an hour a day. Anybody else in the same boat?

My favorite books are thrillers, I don't have a favorite author, I just read the plot and read it if it looks interesting. My tastes are pretty pedestrian when it comes to books though. Because of the time I need to read a book, I tend to go for novels that are fun rather than intellectual or meaningful. I also go for a lot of pop culture non-fiction, I like Chuck Klosterman a lot and read books by my favorite comedians when they come out.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Sun May 19, 2013 8:37 am

John wrote:I'm a slow reader... I need to read every word, I just can't skim a book like most people. I wish I could because I love the medium more than watching a movie or a show. It just takes weeks for me to finish a book if I read 30 minutes or an hour a day. Anybody else in the same boat?

Yup. I always go back, read some passages over and over again. You just don't have this opportunity while watching a movie or listening to a recording. I actually really love that about reading.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Gillingham » Thu May 23, 2013 11:51 am

I'm a slow reader too, partly because I always want to get every word and sentence.
Still, I would be happy to be able to read one hour a day. Used to have more time for things like reading books.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Bruce » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:48 am

Bill James New Historical Abstract

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby nicolas » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:35 pm

I read a lot. Many crime books and science fiction/fantasy, but also general litterature.
My favorite writers are James Ellroy and Cormac McCarthy. I love all of their books. I like Dan Simmons too. Philip K Dick is my favorite sci fi author and Tolkien is also a big favorite of mine. My favorite of the great old writers is probably Dostoievski.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby PlasticRam » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:58 pm

Not in any particular order:

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
The Overcoat - Nikolai Gogol
The Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling

Haven't read a lot of books.
I feel like that

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Mattceinicram » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:20 pm

Right now I am in a course on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. I have been reading some very interesting things in that class such as "The Great Divorce" "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Perelandra"
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby antonius » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:13 pm

Chambord wrote:Fathers And Sons 1862 Ivan Turgheniev

That's a great book, one of my favorites too.

In SF, some of my favorites are
"The Stars, my destination", by Alfred Bester
"The Mote in God's Eye", by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
"Neuromancer", by William Gibson
"Rendez-vous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarcke
"Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarcke

In classic literature, some of my favorites
Most José Saramago books: City of the Blind and The Gospel according to Jesus Christ
Most Naguib Mahfouz books: The Cairo Trilogy especially and Children of Gebelawi
Most Kafka, Tolstoi & Dostoyevsky
"L'Etranger" by Albert Camus
"Love in times of Cholera" and "One hundred years of solitude", both by GG Marquez
"Independent People" by Halldor Laxness (the best end of a book ever)
"Green Hills of Africa" by Hemingway (autobiographical short stories)
"The Feast of the Goat" by Vargas Llosa

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby DocBrown » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:18 am

Top Five? Impossible. Here are five good books. All absurdist comedies.

Kurt Vonnegut Mother Night (bet that's not what you expected)
Tom Robbins Still Life With Woodpecker
Douglas Coupland Microserfs
Walter M. Miller, Jr A Canticle For Liebowitz Antonius, I highly recommend this based on your sc-fi list
Joseph Heller Catch 22

For crime fans, I recommend a series of twelve novels by Graham Hurley, beginning with Turnstone.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:50 pm

Henrik, perhaps you can mention this site on the home page right next to TheyShootPictures. http://thegreatestbooks.org/

It's probably the closest equivalent to AM and TSPDT for literature. I'm not sure how often it's updated.

Anyway, whether Henrik mentions it or not, I recommend it to the book-lovers here!

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:19 pm

Nice. I just sent him a mail with links to a few other book lists he hasn't included yet and asked him whether he still updates the site and needs any help doing so.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:12 am

Thanks! I was thinking about e-mailing him myself, but you beat me to it. Let us know what he says!

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Listyguy » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:10 am

I love that sight. It's not as well set up as AM, but it's based on the same concept. My best guess is that it was updated in 2010 (that's when the copyright is from). I was thinking about emailing him as well, because "The Divine Comedy" is on the list twice.
I noticed you can sign up for the website as well. Has anyone here done that? Does it open up any features other than keeping track of the books you've read?

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:30 am

He's apparently working on an update now to make the design more mobile friendly and add the ability to export the list. He hasn't updated the actual list for years and as I understand it currently has no plans of doing so. I also provided him with a link to this forum and he said he was going to check it out.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:23 am

I just got through with an e-mail exchange with him myself, and apparently he WILL be updating the list together with the site! A quote from his reply to me:

"I am going to spend like a week going through and adding new lists and looking more carefully at my algorithm that calculates the list. ... I am actually updating and revamping the site currently"

Something to look forward to.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:43 am

That's good news. Hallelujah.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby jimmyj » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:13 pm

This is great news. I love that site. And the book world really needs a site that is similar to Acclaimed Music.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Chambord » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:29 pm

http://thegreatestbooks.org/ was already mentioned here:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1035#p10775

As I said there, it has one big problem: it's almost exclusively based on english language sources. So, doesn't stand anywhere near TSPDT / AMF scope-wise.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:46 pm

Well, I included links to Le monde's and ZEIT's lists in my email to him so hopefully this is bound to change.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Chambord » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:58 am

Could you share those lists with us too ? :)

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:09 pm

Here are links to Le monde's list and a few others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Top_book_lists
Here's a (German-language) link to ZEIT's list: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZEIT-Bibl ... %C3%BCcher

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Chambord » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:09 am

I remember now I saw Le Monde list some time ago but dismissed it quickly, because it's based on public vote. Speaking of which, that's a mistake (even bigger than the english limitations) that http://thegreatestbooks.org/ site makes. Combines critics lists with public ones. Again it cannot compare to TSPDT / AMF which are only based on pros lists.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Chambord wrote:I remember now I saw Le Monde list some time ago but dismissed it quickly, because it's based on public vote. Speaking of which, that's a mistake (even bigger than the english limitations) that http://thegreatestbooks.org/ site makes. Combines critics lists with public ones. Again it cannot compare to TSPDT / AMF which are only based on pros lists.


That's correct. As a result of that kind of list compiling, The Lord of the Rings sits higher than Tom Jones, Tristram Shandy, Oedipus the King, and The Canterbury Tales, which I can assure you no proper critics-only list would have.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:21 pm

All the same, greatestbooks.org weights critics' and writers' lists higher than popular lists, so I have no problem with them including popular lists such as BBC's Big Read (which is actually a decent list, perhaps because British readers have good taste).

Also, Lord of the Rings has made it onto a good number of non-popular lists. In fact, the only popular list that cites LOTR out of the six lists it is on is the BBC Big Read. Take away public votes and LOTR would still be considerably high.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:52 pm

The lists it does appear on are not literary-specific sources, however. TIME, Telegraph, and The Observer are general publications, devoted to many different topics. While all of these lists were certainly composed by the house literary critics for the publications, when your magazine or paper has a large, general readership, one is inevitably pressured to include "pop" titles. Take the recent EW books list as another example of what I'm stating. TSPDT appears to give more weight to film-specific sources, as I think Henrik generally does with this site in regards to music as well, though I may be mistaken. Finally, maybe you and I see things differently, as I've never been impressed by that BBC list. It's as commercial as they come. For books, it is, for me at least, as reliable (or unreliable) as the IMDb is for film or the average radio poll is for music.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Henrik » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:34 pm

Why can't "pop books" be well-regarded like pop music?
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:01 am

Henrik wrote:Why can't "pop books" be well-regarded like pop music?


I am sorry if my statement offended anyone, but pop music is a little different than a pop book. This entire site is devoted to the broad category of popular music (obviously separated from the category of classical, which, once again, please don't take offensively, just my personal point of view). A site devoted to the best literature has almost the entirety of human history to take into account, which, inevitably, the inclusion of public-generated lists will never really take into account. "Joe public" is forced to read the masterworks of Homer, Chaucer, Dante, and Shakespeare for literary assignments in school, and thus would never think of calling such titles their "favorites". TSPDT is devoted to what the critics, the scholars, and the filmmakers feel are the greatest films. These people, are, generally speaking, the experts, they have a passion for cinema that goes beyond an evening out at the multiplex with your date. Same thing goes with this website, based on the views of journalists and musicians who have actually invested in their passion and turned it into a career, an existence. A casual reader just wants a nice story, while a critic, a historian, or, in many ways, most importantly, a writer cares about form, about narrative, about tone, mood, feeling, emotion. In many ways, my favorite book list is probably "The Top Ten Books", compiled from over a hundred important and respected writers' ballots of their favorite books. This list is filled with many genres, includes the expected choices, but also eclectic picks that both a typical popularity contest and a Literary Canon would shun. That is probably my own conception of what a good book list should be founded upon. I am sorry for a very long diatribe, but these essentially illustrate my views on the subject.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Chambord » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:12 am

But Henrik, pop books ARE as well regarded as pop music. The thing is there is Psy pop and there is ABBA pop. Likewise there is Dan Brown / Coelho pop and there is Jane Austen pop. It's not the genre, it's what you do with it. Jimmy is right, people at large tend to care more about immediate pleasures in art. Professionals look deeper. I personally am looking for film / music / literature that puts me to work, gives me something to chew, lets me discover its beauties. Not just hands them out on a plate. That's why I'm with the second category when looking for recommendations and consider it's a mistake to mix the tastes of 2 groups with obvious different interests, like that site does. Non-profesionals picks are useful too but only when we talk about a specific group with common higher interests in that field, not universally open polls. That's why I have respect for AMF user polls or, for example, the MUBI book poll I recommended on the other topic. They reflect the tastes of a small group of people brought together by same interests.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Henrik » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:36 am

I, for one, like to see critics separated from readers. That was my first decision when I began the work with AM. My issue was that previous posts seemed to say that popular books can't be great (being on a critics' or readers' list), but I might have got that wrong.

I unfortunately don't have time for books, so I'm a complete ignorant when it comes to this subject. Don't pay too much attention to my comments.
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:39 pm

There are pros and cons to using popular polls in a meta-list such as AM and greatestbooks.org, but I don't think there is a clear-cut right or wrong answer. Public opinion is arguably just as important or only slightly less so than critical opinion when we come down to it, right? Because what the people at large like is often the barometer we use for what's "good," and what the people at large experience is what becomes influential. That's why Star Wars, King Kong and Jaws are up there with La Notte, The Mother and the Whore and Solaris. I don't mind Henrik skipping popular lists altogether but I also don't mind the administrator of greatestbooks.org using them (especially since readers tend to be more intelligent than the public that consumes music or movies, at least in my opinion).

I actually think there should be MORE "entertainment" books on greatestbooks.org. It is still, to my tastes, extremely "high literature" centered. There are wonderfully crafted books of pure entertainment, from Ender's Game to Childhood's End to The Book of the New Sun to Rosemary's Baby to Discworld to the Harry Bosch series and more Stephen King. I wish people in those polls, be they critics or the public, wouldn't be so afraid to choose some more of these kind of books. Well-written and highly entertaining is as legitimate a style as extremely beautifully written yet difficult to get through.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:36 pm

I am not discouraging people from using or liking the site, I was just arguing that it does not reach as far as TSPDT or AM does in its respective topic. I believe that a site like this can be extremely useful. Personally, there are just a couple of things I would advise the site host to consider when updating the list soon:

1. Take out the reader lists from the database. While he states that he weights critic/writer lists higher, any inclusion of public-generated polls automatically reduces the scope and purpose of a site like this. It would be better in the long run. If it included lists that are a mixture of reader and critic choices, then I wouldn't mind as much, but public-exclusive lists go against the ultimate purpose of the concept.
2. Correct double entries (like what Listyguy mentioned with The Divine Comedy). This is just for the purpose of site cleaning, and to an extent, to give it a certain degree of respectability.
3. Give more weight, if possible, to literature-focused sources, such as literary prizes, libraries, literary institutes and magazines, writer polls, scholars choices.
4. Finally, and most importantly after reviewing the sources used, implement more foreign sources (as Paul just sent to him, although I wouldn't use the Le Monde list for reasons stated above. There are quite a few other great non-English sources that the list would benefit from enormously. I believe the Norwegian Book Club conducted a massive survey of writers across the world for a list of the best books, for example.) I would also do what TSPDT does and include every individual writer ballot from the Top Ten Books survey. I could provide links to some of these lists if he wishes for them.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby pauldrach » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:49 pm

Le Monde's list is an interesting case by the way since the readers could only choose titles that were included on a starting list of 200 books. Only the jottling down of the whole thing to 100 titles and the ordering were actually done by the public. So according to you, the unordered starting list of 200 names would probably qualify but the final list wouldn't. Which makes sense, I'm just pointing it out.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:01 pm

I didn't know about that. Yeah, the original 200s nominees would most certainly be eligible from my point of view.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:53 pm

JimmyJazz wrote:I am not discouraging people from using or liking the site, I was just arguing that it does not reach as far as TSPDT or AM does in its respective topic. I believe that a site like this can be extremely useful. Personally, there are just a couple of things I would advise the site host to consider when updating the list soon:

1. Take out the reader lists from the database. While he states that he weights critic/writer lists higher, any inclusion of public-generated polls automatically reduces the scope and purpose of a site like this. It would be better in the long run. If it included lists that are a mixture of reader and critic choices, then I wouldn't mind as much, but public-exclusive lists go against the ultimate purpose of the concept.
2. Correct double entries (like what Listyguy mentioned with The Divine Comedy). This is just for the purpose of site cleaning, and to an extent, to give it a certain degree of respectability.
3. Give more weight, if possible, to literature-focused sources, such as literary prizes, libraries, literary institutes and magazines, writer polls, scholars choices.
4. Finally, and most importantly after reviewing the sources used, implement more foreign sources (as Paul just sent to him, although I wouldn't use the Le Monde list for reasons stated above. There are quite a few other great non-English sources that the list would benefit from enormously. I believe the Norwegian Book Club conducted a massive survey of writers across the world for a list of the best books, for example.) I would also do what TSPDT does and include every individual writer ballot from the Top Ten Books survey. I could provide links to some of these lists if he wishes for them.


I urge you to e-mail those points to the administrator. He is currently updating the site and, as he told me through e-mail, he is very open to taking suggestions. He even asked me for a few tips.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:21 pm

I will look into to doing so sometime!

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Listyguy » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:50 am

LOTR is critically acclaimed as well as being very popular. It was on Telegraph's and Guardian's top 100, and it was included on the 1001 Before You Die. On the other hand, I detest the acclaim the Harry Potter books receive. I hated them ten years ago and I still do. The aforementioned website has LOTR at 41, and Potter 450 and below. One thing that annoys me about a lot of these greatest book lists is that they consider series a single novel. There are three LOTR books, and they should be considered separate entities.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby Mattceinicram » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:18 pm

That website does seem to have some shocking exclusions, such as On the Road.
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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:56 pm

On the Road is actually #18. What may have confused you is that it's under "fiction" on that site.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby irreduciblekoan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:21 pm

The more I browse that site (and after asking the founder a few questions) the more I have a problem with it and can't wait to have the site updated and the mathematical algorithm polished up. For instance, all Pulitzer winners are weighted equally, but since there are so many of them, you can have a book that won a single Pulitzer and didn't appear on any lists be ranked far differently than another book in the same situation, ie. Steven Milhauser's Martin Dressler is at #765 but Louis Bromfield's Early Autumn is at #549, even though they actually have the same score.

Another big problem is that the math seems way off. A book might have a single prize or list entry, but be ranked significantly higher than other books with more prizes and/or lists, ie. Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang won the Man Booker AND made it onto the Times' Best of the Decade and is at #735. Whereas Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Head and Dust, with just a Man Booker prize, is at #597.

Last but not least, books that are on the same ranked list are often not in the right order on the master list, ie. Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness is 54th on the Harvard 100, and #486 overall. Whereas Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is 48th on Harvard's list, and #636 overall.

I see those inconsistencies a LOT on the site. At other times, books with like 5 citations would be right next to books with 1 citation. I would know in my heart that even if that single citation for the latter book was weighted more heavily, it shouldn't be weighted THAT much more heavily as to overtake five citations.

He said he would look into his formula(s), so I hope that in the update he will fix these issues. Until then, I know to take the specific ranks with a large grain of salt.

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Re: Favorite Books

Postby JimmyJazz » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:45 pm

irreduciblekoan wrote:The more I browse that site (and after asking the founder a few questions) the more I have a problem with it and can't wait to have the site updated and the mathematical algorithm polished up. For instance, all Pulitzer winners are weighted equally, but since there are so many of them, you can have a book that won a single Pulitzer and didn't appear on any lists be ranked far differently than another book in the same situation, ie. Steven Milhauser's Martin Dressler is at #765 but Louis Bromfield's Early Autumn is at #549, even though they actually have the same score.

Another big problem is that the math seems way off. A book might have a single prize or list entry, but be ranked significantly higher than other books with more prizes and/or lists, ie. Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang won the Man Booker AND made it onto the Times' Best of the Decade and is at #735. Whereas Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Head and Dust, with just a Man Booker prize, is at #597.

Last but not least, books that are on the same ranked list are often not in the right order on the master list, ie. Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness is 54th on the Harvard 100, and #486 overall. Whereas Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is 48th on Harvard's list, and #636 overall.

I see those inconsistencies a LOT on the site. At other times, books with like 5 citations would be right next to books with 1 citation. I would know in my heart that even if that single citation for the latter book was weighted more heavily, it shouldn't be weighted THAT much more heavily as to overtake five citations.

He said he would look into his formula(s), so I hope that in the update he will fix these issues. Until then, I know to take the specific ranks with a large grain of salt.


My point exactly. Seeing that site, I get the impression from so many errors and weird rankings that it has not had that much in the way of structure or sensibility to its formula. For this reason, I advise that Henrik does not add it just yet. It will be good if he fixes it, however. I will send him an email this evening.


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